Ogun: Politics of missing shots

18th January 2023

“Location. Location. Location.” is a popular mantra in the real estate field that alludes to the importance of geographical positioning in determining the value of land and property. It is the reason one-room apartments in New York cost as much as $3000 monthly while the same amount could provide a stately duplex in other parts of the world. Proximity to valuable locations tends to increase the value of a place and this also works at the level of states and nations.

Lagos is Nigeria’s economic hub and would be Africa’s fifth-largest economy if it was a stand-alone country. As of 2019, the Lagos economy was larger than the economies of over 46 African countries in Africa based on its $101.08 billion GDP, according to the Lagos Bureau of Statistics. This would suggest that being located close to Lagos would offer significantly positive spillover value, and while this has proved true for the Benin Republic, it has not been so for Ogun State.

Despite Ogun State’s resources, and its closeness to Lagos, the state is estimated to have a ₦5.3 trillion GDP that puts it in third place in the South-West. The state’s landmass is 16,981 km² which is five times the size of Lagos State’s landmass (3,577 km²). This puts it in a position to serve as a major location for business and residential districts to relieve the pressure on Lagos, but this has not happened. Despite its land mass, it has also failed to position itself as the major food supplier to the 20 million people in Lagos, leaving Lagos to rely on food supply from the South-South and the North.

The task of ensuring that Ogun State takes full advantage of its proximity to Lagos and also fulfils its potential will fall on whoever wins the coming governorship elections in the state. The APC candidate, Dapo Abiodun is the serving governor of Ogun State looking for a second term after an uninspiring first term.

12 other candidates are looking to compete with him for the position in the coming elections. The dominant opposition figure is the PDP’s Ladi Adebutu, including others like Abayomi Monsuru Omosanya (Accord Party), Samuel Olufemi Adeyemi, Kazeem Shokunbi, Olufemi Omoshile Falana, Adeyemi Harrison, Olubiyi Otegbeye and Jolaoluwa Olutosin.

Regardless of the discontent shown in response to the performance of the current Ogun State governor, it is difficult to see him losing in a state that has a culture of voting for the APC, especially in an election period where the APC’s presidential candidate is a Yoruba Bola Ahmed Tinubu. The rise in voter registration could spring a surprise, but conventional wisdom says that the APC retains control of Ogun State.